Welcome to our Golf Skills Assessment! This is an example skill assessment template you can use to evaluate your current skill level in different areas of your golf game. It’s blog post #2 of our How to Break 80 in Golf Series.
Why should you follow today’s golf skill test? If you want to get better you have to have a base to compare to.
By completing this golf skills assessment you’ll have a comparison base for putting, chipping, pitching, iron distance, iron accuracy, and driver accuracy. Sound cool?
Dive in and discover your current golf skill levels by using this skills assessment template to guide you!
Golf Skills Assessment Test:
Skill Putting (Inside 10 feet)
Using either paper, a scorecard, or your smart phone, record your made putt totals and attempts. Then you can calculate your percentages from different breaks and distances to get a feel for how good you are and see broken down statistics that you can use to improve your putting with. Here is the putting assessment:
- 50 right to left breaking putts from 3 feet
- 50 left to right breaking putts from 3 feet
- 50 flat putts from 3 feet
- Repeat this from 5 feet, 7 feet, and 10 feet for a total of 600 putts.
After completion of the putting skills assessment you can calculate 3 major data points.
- How many putts out of 50 you can make from a certain break type
- How many putts total you made for that distance out of 150
- How many putts total you made overall out of 600
Lag Putting Skill Assessment Test
Record how many putts you get inside 3 feet from each distance below. The goal of lag putting is to 2 putt and not 3 putt, so trying to get that first putt inside 3 feet is crucial to setting up an easy second putt.
Use your putter as it is about 3 feet in length to measure out 3 feet from the hole several angles around the hole and mark with a ball marker. You should have a circle of ball markers with radius of 3 feet to the hole. Then putt from the following distances trying to get each putt inside the 3 foot radius circle that you created.
- 25 putts from 20 feet
- 25 putts from 30 feet
- 25 putts from 40 feet
- 25 putts from 50 feet
If you have the time and want more detailed statistics then perform 50 reps from each distance instead of 25. We initially decided 25 because this is large enough to get good data from and small enough you won’t skew your natural results. What we mean is if you perform 100 reps for example, after about 25-50 you’ll have mastered the feel for that distance and start seeing a lot more putts going inside 3 feet from reps 50-100 than you did from 0-50.
This throws off your results that are from true skill because after so many reps you’re relying on muscle memory that you just acquired in the last few minutes for that drill that will be forgotten if you come back a week later. Hope this made sense.
Resources: How to Score in the 70’s Golf Training Plan
Chipping Skill Assessment
If a ball rolls off of the green it must first go onto what’s called fringe and then into the rough. For this assessment you will do chips from both the fringe and the rough. Some people may prefer to putt from fringe but you must be skilled at chipping from it also.
On the practice putting green find 3 holes for this assessment. One should be a short distance from you (20 feet or less), a medium distance (20-40 feet), and a long distance (60 feet+). Measure off your distances for your reference in the future if you want to do this assessment again as you’ll want to have similar distance holes to chip to for comparable results. Here’s the assessment:
- Chip 50 balls to the short hole from the fringe and record how many stop within 3 feet of the hole
- Chip 50 balls to the medium hole from the fringe recording the number inside 4 feet of the hole
- Chip 50 balls to the far hole from the fringe recording the number inside of 5 feet of the hole
Repeat this drill to all 3 holes but now from the rough instead of fringe. Go about 5 to 10 feet into the rough to simulate a shot that came about 5-10 feet short of the fringe.
- Chip 50 balls to the short hole from the rough
- Chip 50 balls to the medium hole from the rough
- Chip 50 balls to the long hole from the rough
Overall you have now chipped 300 times and have recorded how many balls were inside 3 feet. You’ll most likely have better results from the fringe than the rough.
It helps if you use sets of 10 balls for time purposes but for accuracy purposes you can use just 5 balls so that the green doesn’t get too cluttered and chips run into each other messing up your data.
Pitching Skill Assessment
For pitching you need to find a quiet area on the course or practice green where your pitches won’t bother others since pitching requires you being further off the green and flying the ball all over the green. Be sure to fix ball marks on the green when done.
Measure off 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, and 50 yards (A stride length is about a yard)
You’re going to pitch 10 balls to the hole you choose to use for this drill and record the distance that each ball finishes from the hole in approximate feet. Approximate feet meaning using your putter (3 feet) and shoe (1 foot) to determine about how far the ball is from the hole. Average the 10 distances from the 10 different balls to get your average distance from the hole.
Here is the distances to pitch from:
- 10 balls pitched to the green from 20 yards away
- 10 balls pitched to the green from 30 yards away
- 10 balls pitched to the green from 40 yards away
- 10 balls pitched to the green from 50 yards away
Iron Play Skill Assessment
Iron Assessment #1: Distance
First we want to fine tune your knowledge of how far you actually hit each club. You may think you know about how far a club goes but knowing within a few yards error how far you actually hit a club can help you hit more greens and get closer to pins than guesses that you’re currently doing.
For this assessment you’re going to have to go out physically onto the golf course and preferably when the course isn’t as busy so that you can take your time on each hole to get the assessment done.
You want to find the distances for your 4 iron through 9 iron, so roughly 6 clubs you’ll be measuring today if you use a 4 iron and not a hybrid, 5 if you don’t use a 4 iron.
There are two methods you can use to discover your distances.
- Hitting down a fairway
- Hitting to a green
Distance Method 1: Fairway
For the first method, you want to hit 5 balls with one iron down a fairway starting from the 250 marker and then pick the good data balls to measure and see how far they went using the 250 yard mark as a reference. So if you hit 3 solid balls and have two that are way off distance or accuracy wise then throw them out and go with the 3 similar balls to average the yardage.
Since you’re only measuring 6 different clubs for distance then do one per hole in order to keep moving and not cause any issues on the course.
Here is an example outlined for you to understand better:
Hole 1 – Using a 4 iron
- Ball 1 is hit from the 250 yard marker and lands 50 yards past the 100 yard marker. We stopped our cart at the 100 yard mark and walked to the golf ball 50 yards away and used a range finder to laser the golf cart, discovering it was 50 yards away. Using simple math, 250-100 = 150 yards + 50 yards from laser, we know we hit the 4 iron 200 yards for ball 1
- Ball 2 is hit 195 yards
- Ball 3 is sliced and only goes 170 yards
- Ball 4 is hit 202 yards
- Ball 5 isn’t hit clean and goes 184 yards.
Looking at the data from hole 1 you would toss out ball 3 and 5 which were not hit very well and you would average balls 1, 2 and 4. These 3 well struck balls average out to 199 yards. Using this assessment you now know your 4 iron if hit well should go about 200 yards plus or minus a few yards.
Hole 2 – Using a 5 iron
- Ball 1 is hit 184 yards
- Ball 2 is hit 179 yards
- Ball 3 is hit 188 yards
- Ball 4 is hooked 168 yards
- Ball 5 is hit 180 yards
Toss out ball 4 which wasn’t hit as well as the other 4 attempts. Your average for the 4 good attempts is 182.75 so you can assume your 5 iron should be in the range of 183 yards on average.
Holes 3, 4, 5, and 6 will repeat this for the 6 iron through 9 iron. We recommend using the 250 yard mark because it’s an easy reference point rather than hitting from a random spot on the fairway which then forces you to have to leave your bag or cart at that spot while you walk to your ball in order to have an object to hit with the laser range finder.
Instead leave your cart or bag at a marker plate that’s closer to your golf ball as mentioned above when we gave the example of the 4 iron going 50 yards past the 100 yard mark. We left the cart at the 100 yard mark and measured the ball to that point and then added on the yardage from the 100 to 250 marker plates.
Distance Method 2: Green
For the second method, you can hit 5 balls onto the green with your iron and use addition and subtraction relative to the pin.
For example, you’re hitting your 9 iron from 135 yards out which you know is the distance because you used a range finder from your ball to the pin. Then you hit 7 balls to the green because 2 of the first 5 missed the green so it took extra attempts to get 5 balls on the green to use for data.
You walk up to the green and find the 5 divots your balls left and add or subtract yards that your ball is from the imaginary “pin high” line that runs across the green from the pin.
- Ball 1 was 2 yards short of being pin high
- Ball 2 was 3 yards past pin high
- Ball 3 was a half yard short of pin high
- Ball 4 was 5 yards short of pin high
- Ball 5 was 2 yards past pin high
Adding and subtracting to 135 yards would leave you with a distance of:
- 133 yards for ball 1
- 138 yards for ball 2
- 134.5 yards for ball 3
- 130 yards for ball 4
- 137 yards for ball 5
Average “carry” distance for your 9 iron for the 5 balls that landed on the green would be 134.5. This tells you that you carry the ball about 135 yards on average so if the hole is 135 yards away you’ll want to hit a little less than your average to allow for some roll distance.
Iron Summary: Again, this section may be confusing but two ways to measure distance are hitting from fairway point A to fairway point B and using the distance markers and range finder to calculate the distance you hit the ball. Then average the 5 balls to get your carry plus roll average yardage for that iron.
Method 2 has you hit 5 data balls onto the green and measure carry only distance. Since method 1 is in the fairway it’s really hard to find the landing dent in the fairway, therefore forcing you to have to calculate your total carry plus roll distance average.
Now that you discovered method 1 is carry plus roll and method 2 is just carry, we throw a curve ball at you and say do both assessments. Find out how far you can carry the ball (method 2) and find out your total distance if a green wasn’t stopping your balls roll (method 1).
You can use this information for lay up shots as well as for attacking greens.
Iron Assessment #2: Accuracy
For assessing your irons accuracy, head to the driving range with a bucket of range balls. Since you have found your distances for each club by now, pull out your 4 iron through 9 iron and find the different yardage targets that each would hit to.
For example, a driving range might have a 100 yard flag, 125 yard, 150 yard, 175 yard, and 200 yard so decide which are relevant to the iron you’ll be using in the drill below. This drill is more about accuracy so you technically could hit to the 150 yard flag with all 6 different irons and still record accuracy of left, straight, or right.
*Important* – Use alignment sticks or other golf clubs you are not using and set one down pointing to the Flag or Yardage Post Marker and the other club or alignment stick parallel to the first but for your feet alignment. See the following picture:
For this assessment you’ll hit 10 balls with each of those 6 different irons we talked about (4 iron through 9 iron). Record each shot whether it goes straight, right, or left relative to the flag. An example of how this drill would look:
- 10 balls to the 125 yard marker with 9 iron
- 10 balls to the 150 yard marker with 8 iron
- 10 balls to the 150 yard marker with 7 iron
- 10 balls to the 150 yard marker with 6 iron
- 10 balls to the 175 yard marker with 5 iron
- 10 balls to the 200 yard marker with 4 iron
You now have data for your 6 different irons and how many shots out of 10 you hit left, straight, or right of the target line and flag.
You should see more balls recorded as going straight for the closer distances and less for the further distances. Looking at your data you can see if most of your shots seem to go right of the target, left of the target, or pretty straight. Since we have perfect alignment due to the alignment stick pointing at the target flag, then we know what our shot is truly doing.
Some people may align wrong out on the course hence why they miss to where they are aimed without realizing it.
Driver Skill Assessment
Similar to the previous test with irons you’ll need to align to a target far off in the distance such as the 200 yard flag. Then visually find 15 yards left of your target and 15 yards right of your target. This now becomes a simulation of a 30 yard wide fairway in your head with the center of the fairway being the target flag out in the distance.
Hit 15 balls to the target with your driver and record whether each goes left, right, or straight as well as how many stay within the 30 yard wide imaginary fairway.
- 15 balls recorded as left, straight, or right of the target flag
- Of these 15 attempts, how many stayed inside the imaginary 30 yard wide fairway?
Skill Assessment Conclusion
That completes the golf skills assessment.
It most likely will take several hours depending on initial skill level so make sure you choose a day where you have a good amount of free time in your schedule before heading to the course. You could also break this up into two days, one for chipping and putting and the other day for driver and irons.
The chipping and putting is most important to improving your score and can be done for free usually on a practice green at a course.
The driving range will cost you about $10 for a large bucket of 90 balls or so.
The golf round for 18 holes will most likely cost you as well unless you already have a course membership somewhere and therefore can go out for free whenever. You may want to use this time to do the pitching assessment as well rather than pitch from 50 yards away to a small practice green which could have people on it.
You can break up the pitching yardages by doing one assessment yardage at 5 different holes so that you aren’t holding up one hole in the event some golfers catch up behind you at some point.
Pick an evening or time that you know won’t be busy for the on-course golf skills assessment to be safe.
Thanks for reading and we hope you do well on your golf skills assessment. Be sure to try the assessment again several weeks later to check for improvement!